What is Bipolar Disorder?
Did you know bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million adults (about 2.6% of the U.S. population) age 18 and older every year?
- Selena Gomez, Singer and Actor
Former Disney star Selena Gomez, who first rose to fame on the television show Wizards of Waverly Place, revealed in April 2020 that she has bipolar disorder.
“Recently I went to one of the best mental health hospitals in America, McLean Hospital [affiliated with Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts], and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized I was bipolar,” said Gomez in a 2020 interview with Elle. “So, when I know more information it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me when I know it.”
“I felt a huge weight lifted off me when I found out,” said Gomez in another interview with Elle in 2021. “I could take a deep breath and go, ‘Okay, that explains so much.'”
Gomez, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2014, has also been open about her struggles with anxiety and depression. Now, the “Lose You to Love Me” singer aims to normalize conversations about mental health through her platform, WonderMind, which she cofounded in 2021 with her mother, Mandy Teefy, and CEO of The Newsette, Danielle Pierson.
2. Ye (Kanye West), Rapper
Ye, known as Kanye West before he legally changed his name, is widely considered one of the most influential rappers of all time, boasting 22 Grammys to date.
In a 2019 interview with David Letterman, the Grammy-winning rapper spoke frankly about what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder. “I feel a heightened connection with the universe when I’m ramping up. It is a health issue,” Ye said.
He described his experience with bipolar disorder as “having a sprained brain” similar to having a sprained ankle. “If someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more. With us, once our brain gets to a point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse,” Ye told Letterman.
Despite his successes, Ye has stirred controversy multiple times over the years. He’s had a number of outbursts both in public and online, which his loved ones have previously attributed to his bipolar disorder, according to Good Morning America.
Most recently, he came under fire for rants on social media related to his ex-wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and her new relationship with Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson, which began in late 2021. It’s not clear if Ye’s recent behavior was related to his bipolar disorder. But according to ET, Ye told Kardashian afterward that he planned on “going away to get help” as a result of his behavior.
3. Mariah Carey, Singer-Songwriter
Pop star Mariah Carey revealed in a 2018 interview with People that she’d been living with bipolar 2 disorder for nearly two decades. First diagnosed in 2001 after being hospitalized for a mental and physical breakdown, the platinum-selling singer told People that she “didn’t want to believe” the diagnosis.
But the burden of keeping the diagnosis to herself and constantly living in fear that someone would expose her — as well as a particularly tough two years that included a broken engagement to business mogul James Packer — eventually encouraged Carey to seek treatment and ultimately share her story. She’s now in therapy and taking medication for bipolar 2 disorder, which involves mood swings between depression and hypomania, but isn’t as severe as bipolar 1 disorder.
Already with 18 No. 1 hits under her belt, Carey said she is in a “really good place” and surrounding herself with positive people, including her 11-year-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan. She’s also doing more of what she loves: writing songs and making music. “I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating,” she told People.
4. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Actor and Kickboxer
The Belgian kickboxer Jean-Claude Van Damme has appeared in numerous action films, including Bloodsport, Sudden Death, and Universal Soldier. While his movie career took off, Van Damme’s personal life was unraveling. He divorced four times, was charged with spousal abuse, and was addicted to cocaine.
According to CBS News, Van Damme eventually was diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, a form of the condition that involves at least four mood episodes in one year. Before being diagnosed, Van Damme said, he relied on training to cope with his symptoms.
5. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Actress
The Academy Award–winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones first became known to movie audiences in the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro. In 2000, she married actor Michael Douglas. The mother of two revealed in April 2011 that she had sought treatment for bipolar 2 disorder, which is characterized by episodes of hypomania (less severe highs and irritability than manic episodes) alternating with depression.
“After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check into a mental health facility for a brief stay,” her publicist announced in a 2011 statement, per ABC News.
5. Scott Stapp, Frontman for Creed
In 2017, rocker Scott Stapp made headlines for his alcohol and drug addiction and erratic behavior. “In my delusional thinking, I thought my family was involved in ISIS, and that millions of dollars had been taken from me to support terrorism,” he told People. “All of it was nonsense. I was out of my mind.”
While in an intensive program in a dual diagnostic facility, Stapp was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “It was hard to process,” he said. “There’s a stigma associated with it. But Jaclyn [Stapp’s wife] kept telling me, ‘Embrace it. We love you.’ It became a big sigh of relief, because finally, we had an answer.”
Now in intensive therapy, Stapp takes medication for his disorder and is also involved in a 12-step program. “Nothing is more important than my sobriety,” he told People.
6. Jane Pauley, Television Host and Author
7. Sinéad O’Connor, Singer-Songwriter
8.Linda Hamilton, Actress
9. Carrie Fisher, Actress
10. Pete Wentz, Bassist for Fall Out Boy
Pete Wentz belongs to the award-winning rock band Fall Out Boy, known for hits like “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “Dance, Dance.” But amid his success, Wentz was struggling behind the scenes during the band’s early years.
In a 2015 interview with Howard Stern on SiriusXM, Wentz described his twenties as a particularly tumultuous time. He revealed he’d been self-medicating while on tour with Fall Out Boy to cope with what he later learned were bipolar symptoms.
“My highs, my happiness are really high and my lows are very low and I’m not able to regulate between the two,” Wentz told Stern, according to MTV News. “Through actual therapy and having kids it’s way more under control and something I can see when I’m on the roller coaster and control it more.”
Wentz said he also leans on his family for support. “Living with purpose and having a schedule with my family has brought me balance,” he told People in 2018. “I think it can be different for everyone, but for me, just being able to talk through things, meditate and exercise has been helpful.”
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